Monday, October 8, 2012

Review: Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)


GlowAuthor: Amy Kathleen Ryan
Series: Sky Chasers
Publication: October 7th 2011
Publisher: Macmillan Children's 
Paperback, 385 pages
Buy: The Book Depository


I rated Glow somewhat higher than I normally rate this type of books, due solely to the incredibly strong emotional impact it had on me. Some of the characters in it might prove forgettable in time, but I will never forget the pressing, claustrophobic feeling it left me with.
I’ve read a few reviews in advance and I was prepared to be unsettled by it, but nothing could prepare me for this story in which people, every last one of them, were monsters, usually hidden behind a very pleasant façade.

When, decades ago, two identical ships were launched into space on a mission to find New Earth and settle, everyone thought their chances of survival were pretty much the same. After all, the only difference between them was the religious conviction of their respective crews.
Weaverly and Kieran belong to the first generation of children born on the Empyrean – the ship with a non-religious crew. They are both fifteen and thinking about getting married – in their circumstances, children are always welcome, no matter how young the parents. They have their lives planned out for them and they’re happy with the way things are going. But the New Horizon crew hasn’t had as much luck. They haven’t been able to procreate at all, which means their crew is fairly old and they are pretty desperate. Their solution is to attack the Empyrean and steal all their girls, nearly destroying the ship in the process. Suddenly, Weaverly and Kieran aren’t even on the same ship and each of them is dealing with a different set of disasters.

The name Weaverly seems like an odd and unfortunate choice, especially for third person narration. Since Ryan seems to harbor a strong dislike for personal pronouns, it’s used in almost every sentence, and, being a mouthful, it clogs the natural flow of sentences and makes the already thick narrative even harder to read. That is, writing-wise, the only objection I really have. Amy Kathleen Ryan showed unusual skill and control.

Because so many awful, hateful things happen in it, Glow is a hard book to like. There is no real warmth between the characters, nothing even remotely positive or hopeful, just violence, horrible moral choices and more violence. One couldn’t exactly call Kieran a hero, not by any stretch of the imagination, and the same goes for the rest of the characters. They behaved exactly as one would expect people in such an isolated environment to behave: they have deviated drastically from moral and ethical standards of society.

Faced with a crew made up entirely of rebellious boys, Kieran decided to lead them through a religion he pretty much made up on the spot. The ease with which this decision was made and the way those boys accepted it was incredibly creepy and eye-opening. Their sudden faith in Kieran was alarming, and the speed with which this cult of personality arose staggering.

There are many more things that unsettled me and kept me awake at night, but writing about them would give away too much of the plot. It’s best to go into this book knowing very little about it. Fortunately, I have the sequel, Spark, on hand, but I’m not brave enough to read it right away. My poor little heart needs a lengthy break.


24 comments:

  1. This was incredibly disturbing! I was very upset over what they did to Waverly and for kidnapping all the girls. Kieran isn't a perfect hero but I believe he did the best he could to lead the boys and to give them some team strength. I'm worried he may take it too far. Seth was incredibly psycho. Everyone just reacted horribly but with everything horrible that was happening I could kind of understand. I have the sequel as well but just haven't felt like reading it.

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  2. I actually picked this book up a few weeks ago, and hadn't read any reviews of it until now - and I had no clue that it was disturbing at all, but now I do. I'll have to wait until I'm in the mood for this sort of book to read it. Great review :)

    Cassy @ Reading and Rising With the Sun

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  3. I've seen this book pop up on my feed a few times now but not really paid it much attention, but the impact it's had on you makes me want to give it a try. I hate and love books which leave such long lingering effects afterwards, you have me curious about what could happen now. I hope it's not too bad and I can still deal! Good luck when picking up the next book! :)

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  4. Whoa this sounds like an intense read, the sparkly cover is certainly misleading. I have heard good things about this but not sure if I am thrilled about jumping into a book with no hope and only violence and monsters it would give me a lot to think about for sure!

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  5. I keep meaning to read this book, it sounds so good. It's shame it has some flaws for you, I hate it when there is no warmth towards the characters. Great review! :)

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  6. It's cool to see so many young adult sci-fi novels coming out recently. Hopefully the market doesn't get flooded with them (a vain hope, I fear). It sounds like this one has a few issues, but at least it was memorable. I'm holding out on adding it until I see your opinion on the sequel. :) Great review today, Maja!

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  7. This one sounds a lot like "Across the Universe" with a disturbing outlook of government and gender roles a la Brave New World. I think this one seems to be a bit more successful at making it more disturbing. I've read mixed reviews of this one but now I'm kinda curious to see how bad it gets.

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  8. I have this to read. Thanks for the review

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  9. OMG. Such books kill me. Yet I cannot forget them. Great review, Maja =)

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  10. Great review, Maja =) . i want it badly

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  11. I love books like this one. Where you are forced to take a step back from comfortable morals and face extremes... especially if the author can make the trip well enough and shows you real characters in alien situations. It's like a peek in the dark, distorted mirror, and the way you've described it reminds me a bit of Dune in some aspects--religion, cult of personality, new ethics...

    I think I might have to read this one. Thanks for the great review, Maja! :)

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  12. MAJA! This. Review. Seriously girl, how do you do it? I've seen this book on my newsfeed and dashboard everywhere but somehow I wrote it off as just another "Across the Universe" (which, if you haven't read, I wouldn't recommend), so I was determined not to pick this up and have a repeated bad experience with a space book but this sounds SO GOOD. I mean, humanity at its worst? Abducting girls? A love story that doesn't render the two lovers incapable of doing anything without each other? I. Am. On. I think this is something I'd just LOVE, so I want to pick it up ASAP now. Wonderful, wonderful review, dear. I'm so excited to read this one now and I can't wait to see what you think of the sequel!(: (OR Lucid and Ashen Winter for that matter! :D)

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  13. Lots of awful things do happen in this. It's quite memorable in that regard! I felt a little so-and-so about this book when I first read it. I did somewhat enjoy it overall, but not well enough to really leave much of an impression. Still, I do agree with many points in your review. Lovely and well-written as always, Maja! :)

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  14. Brilliant review, Maja! I love the premise of this one but the quibbles you had with it I'm thinking will irk me to no end. Hmm... I'm conflicted on whether I should read this or not. On a side note, that cover doesn't seem to reflect on the dark subject matter within this book at all! It's so glowy and sparkly, somewhat similar to the cover of Across the Universe...

    I look forward to your opinion of Lucid, btw! The concept is wonderful and I've only heard great things about it. :)

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  15. I'm glad you enjoyed this book, Maja! I remember reading it last year and sadly, I didn't enjoy it. I couldn't connect with Waverly and I couldn't get into the story plot. However, I do like the premise and the concept of Glow!

    Awesome review, Maja ♥

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  16. I read a review on this on Mandee's blog and the premise does sound disturbing yet intriguing. Glad to see you enjoyed this. Although maybe that's the the right word. Appreciated? Wonderful review Maja. :)

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  17. I've seen this one around, but I hadn't read enough positive reviews to make it sound worth my while. But you make Glow sound really good, Maja! The religious/dystopian elements Ryan employs sound very thought-provoking and fascinating.

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  18. First of all: LOVE the cover of this book! <3 I think I'm going to buy this book simply because I want to stare at the cover forever LOL. Somehow I have addiction to science fiction covers. They seem to have the coolest cover ever in my opinion LOL! x) Second, LOVE your honest, thoughtful review as always, Maja! The story sounds very harsh and scary, so I'm very tempted to get myself a copy of this book. Who know that I might end up liking this strange-sounding story. ;)

    Fantastic review, my dear! <3

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  19. Oh, Maja! Color me convinced! I really shouldn't get so excited at the prospect of feeling unsettled and claustrophobic, but darn it... I am!! Fabulous review, my dear!

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  20. Oh man. Your review, Maja! I was entirely willing not to read this book because it just doesn't appeal to me and I've read quite a few reviews about it and they weren't really impressed. But you just made me want to read it! I want to know now what it's all about. Sigh. I guess I must prepare myself. Thank you for the warning. Fantastic review as always, Maja! :)

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  21. I felt so nervous when I saw this review on your blog and really didn't want to scroll down and see your rating in case you hated it but you gave it 3.5 - yay!

    I only read this because I accidentally requested Spark not knowing it was a sequel and that was one of my best accidental-requests, ever! I never would have read Glow otherwise (so many negative reviews) but I ended up really enjoying it and I was so sucked in by the story. I completely agree with your feelings, the thought of being stuck on that spaceship scared me a lot but it was also so thrilling.

    Read Spark now! Read Spark now! :D

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  22. Wow...you have made me absolutely terrified to seek this book out. As a person who has avoided the world at large for about a year because of the ugly things in it, I think this may be a little too much for me. Or it could very well be the kick in the butt that I need to go back into the big scary world. I'll definitely be thinking about this book!

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  23. I was dilly dallying before ordering this book but right now, after reading this review, I know I MUST read it.
    Fantastic review! Totally grabbed my attention!

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  24. I couldn't get into this one the first time, mostly because of the names and the crazy religious weirdos, which is on my list of ultimate things I hate in books/tv shows/life.

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